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Old 21-10-2014, 09:57   #1
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Tips for dealing with crappy vendors

Any tips for dealing with somebody who's working on your boat but doing a crappy job?

He's got a 50% deposit, so we have the other 50% to hold over his head, but he's at the point now where I want to just say "Finish it by the end of the week or we'll hire somebody else to finish it."

Any advice is this area? I'd rather avoid court, but this guy is starting to impact my refit schedule now that he's over a month late and at the current rate of work it may be another month before he finishes, and then we still have to get the sides made, so I'm picturing a soaking wet cockpit soon the first time we get some weather.

I'm guessing he can put a mechanical lein on the boat, so I'd like to know what we can do to protect ourselves.

Here's the latest example:
Last week the guy that was supposed to weld the plastic got the parts on Monday and finished them on Tuesday. We were supposed to have them installed on Wed. So I took off work Wed and the guy no showed. I took Thursday and Friday off waiting as well, but no dice. He showed up on Friday and did a few minor things, and said he'd be back Sat. Didn't show up until Monday some time, and put the roof on the bimini. I ran the solar wiring before the top was on, and he put the top on and pinched all the solar wires over supports instead of the side that the wiring channel is, so the top will need to be removed to fix the wiring. Then I noticed 5 screw holes in the top, where the screws were too long. Some just made zits on the plastic, others clearly punctured it. So our brand new top that we waited 3 weeks for the plastic guy to come back from "vacation" and weld has holes in it. So it looks like all he did was put one plastic lid on, screwed it down, and left. Probably 1 hour of work. Meanwhile it's still missing the grab bars on the top, the lighting, and the lighting covers.
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Old 21-10-2014, 10:08   #2
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Re: Tips for dealing with crappy vendors

I get the feeling when you hired and paid him 50% that you didn't put what work was to be done and when in writing.
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Old 21-10-2014, 10:33   #3
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Re: Tips for dealing with crappy vendors

I'd suggest the approach that will have the best outcome for all involved is to print out a calendar with a completion schedule on it, and the two of you should sit down and go over it so everyone expects the same thing.

No to make excuses for the guy, but you can get all sorts of things happening on a project, and he may not have learned yet that he needs to communicate those things to his clients in some way. Maybe he has a newborn child and his wife is sick a lot, or an older child who has a more serious illness. Or he could just be lazy, you never know until you discuss it with a schedule.

I do have to say that doing shoddy work is never acceptable and should be repaired/redone.

However, I'd suggest explaining to him why you need the boat done by a certain date ("I'd like to get a few more sails in before the end of the season" is certainly a valid reason). Now the hard part is bringing up what happens if he is not finished by that time, but arriving at a partial payment agreement is certainly one way to do it.

But IMHO the first step is to sit down with him and a schedule and try to arrive at a mutual agreement and understanding.
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Old 21-10-2014, 11:37   #4
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Re: Tips for dealing with crappy vendors

You can't force someone to do good work.
You can try to create a schedule and contract with him now. And if he's already doing work that needs repair, you'll see more of that.
It would probably cost less in time, money and frustration to pay the guy off and go hire someone who does quality work or do more of the work yourself.
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Old 21-10-2014, 11:51   #5
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Re: Tips for dealing with crappy vendors

Yeah... bad situation. If he's that busy or inept, he may not have his SH*T together enough to get around to a lien. You don't mention how much $ were talking... maybe you can just talk with him diplomatically next time he shows and indicate you'd like to "move on"... or even say "you would like to finish it yourself" or "money's getting tight". Then ask if you owe him anything more? if so ask for a "final" invoice.
Did he bid this?
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Old 21-10-2014, 13:51   #6
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Re: Tips for dealing with crappy vendors

The guy sounds inadequate. Send him to hell and look for a reliable person. They do exist.

Spread words so that others do not fall into the same trap.

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Old 21-10-2014, 17:06   #7
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Re: Tips for dealing with crappy vendors

Well I jumped the gun a bit. Turns out they're going to thru-bolt the top on, so the holes don't matter. The latest claim is that we'll have the top done by the end of the week. I'll just hope for the best.

I considered adding contract details about being late and adding penalties... but I didn't want to be THAT guy... and I expected he'd jack the price up to compensate. In hindsight, I will be THAT guy next time.

It's been very stressful, so many delays, projects getting backed up, no communication, but a friend of ours had a great comeback when I was singing "Please don't say manana if you don't mean it"...

"Manana doesn't mean tomorrow. It means not today."
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Old 21-10-2014, 17:16   #8
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Re: Tips for dealing with crappy vendors

Yes, pay him with a Visa and then file a complaint with Visa regarding the charge. Once he swipes that card he enters into a contract with Visa which basically says the same thing it says to you which is that the charge will go through their claims and legal dept. If you can provide evidence that he did not do what he was contracted to do, the device was defective, or that he was negligent in some way, you get your money back and he has to work it out with Visa.

This is a great benefit of Visa. AMEX is even better - they will go to court on your behalf.

However, just being bad at something probably won't get your money back. They may hold the charge until you get what you paid for.

If he tries to do an end run, they shut off his charge privs.
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Old 22-10-2014, 10:47   #9
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Re: Tips for dealing with crappy vendors

Sounds like a great learning experience. I hope it all works out.

Had on old man (80s), that ran a boat yard, put his arm around me and say, "Young man, you never pay for something till you get it.". I was trying to pay him.
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Old 22-10-2014, 11:13   #10
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Re: Tips for dealing with crappy vendors

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cadence View Post
...you never pay for something till you get it...
This.

I'm afraid I have to place the burden for the snafu on the OP for not doing proper due diligence before hiring the guy. Taking multiple days off to wait for a worker suggests extremely poor communications skills. And considering making changes to a contract after it has been agreed upon, well, good luck. Sounds like simple mismanagement.
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Old 22-10-2014, 11:35   #11
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Re: Tips for dealing with crappy vendors

Quote:
Originally Posted by Terra Nova View Post
This.

I'm afraid I have to place the burden for the snafu on the OP for not doing proper due diligence before hiring the guy. Taking multiple days off to wait for a worker suggests extremely poor communications skills. And considering making changes to a contract after it has been agreed upon, well, good luck. Sounds like simple mismanagement.
I think he realizes that. I wish I had a solution for his current situation. I would probably do the wrong thing and hard ball the contractor.
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Old 25-10-2014, 09:53   #12
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Re: Tips for dealing with crappy vendors

Quote:
Originally Posted by Terra Nova View Post
This.

I'm afraid I have to place the burden for the snafu on the OP for not doing proper due diligence before hiring the guy. Taking multiple days off to wait for a worker suggests extremely poor communications skills. And considering making changes to a contract after it has been agreed upon, well, good luck. Sounds like simple mismanagement.
I'm afraid all your assumptions are illogical and completely wrong. I could explain it to you, but this thread is about tips for dealing with vendors, not debating misplaced blame with somebody that did not read or comprehend my post or makes wild assumptions.

I just talked to another vendor about doing our canvas for the hard top, and I asked him if I could put something in the contract about a completion date, and he said "no, not interested, find somebody else." This is the most expensive/most reputable guy in town.

So if you're in a place where demand is high, and the vendors aren't starving, they'll tell you to go pound sand. So there isn't anything I could have done differently, but there was no snafu, it's getting done at whatever schedule the vendor wants, the only thing I can do is just wait.

So the moral of the story is, start any projects that rely on outside vendors early, or they will screw up your departure date. And if you can't get them to agree to any special terms when you sign up, you might as well go to happy hour and have a beer than worry if the guy is really going to show up or not.

I typically do all boat work myself, but we had a really good experience with a yard last year, so this was a new experience for me. The guy is doing nice work, there is no issue now, I just had to stop caring about the fact the project was supposed to take 2-3 weeks and it's taking 2-3 months.
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Old 27-10-2014, 04:24   #13
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Re: Tips for dealing with crappy vendors

Pay nothing until the job is finished. If he doesnt have the money to do the job there is a reason why. Ide rather pay extra money than extra time

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